The album spawned three top 40 singles in the US: "Girl Can't Help It" (No. 17), "I'll Be Alright Without You" (No. 14), and "Suzanne" (No. 17). It also spawned a top ten single "Be Good to Yourself" (No. 9) It went to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, and it was certified double platinum in the USA.
Raised on Radio was released three years after Frontiers (1983). In 1984, both lead guitarist Neal Schon and lead singer Steve Perry released albums on their own; Schon in the band HSAS (Through the Fire), and Perry with his debut solo album, Street Talk. Perry considered leaving Journey following the release of Street Talk which he has referred to as "one of the most fun experiences I've had". Perry decided to return to working with Journey when he received a call from keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who wanted him to work on some unfinished songs.
Following Perry's return to Journey, he began to take more control over the band's direction. Bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith were fired from the band, against the wishes of manager Herbie Herbert. According to Perry, Valory and Smith "weren't pleased with the kind of music we were playing and weren't too keen on touring". Smith later said of the initial recording process: "There was a lot of pressure to do it the way Steve Perry wanted, which I had a lot of problems with because I felt it should be a group record, like all the other records." Valory and Smith were replaced by various studio musicians for the recording of Raised on Radio, including Randy Jackson (bass guitar) and Larrie Londin (drums). Smith did record three tracks with Journey on the album, and he and Valory still received revenues from the record and subsequent tour. Both returned to Journey in 1995.
The band decided that Perry, who had proved his production capabilities on Street Talk, was the best fit to produce the album. According to Perry, this gave the rest of the band members as much creative control as possible: "Journey knows what it should sound like, so we all agreed I would be a good, safe, nondictator-type producer."
Perry changed the original title of this project from Freedom to Raised on Radio, which drew the ire of Herbert and some of the band members.